Wednesday, December 29, 2010

White Christmas

We actually had a white Christmas here in middle Tennessee, the first in years and from what I have seen on the news lately we weren't the only ones. It looks like most of the country is buried in snow right now. Unfortunately here in Tennessee it came and went quickly. And due to the schedule of the holidays I didn't get out in it enough. The two I have posted here were done days after Christmas, at the last of the snow, one on a gravel bar in the Harpeth River and the other in Leiper's Fork.
Also, if you get the chance, there is an interesting blog I follow by a guy named Stapleton Kearns. His blog is full of artistic info and his December 14 and 15 entries are about innominate color. He explains as well as anyone, including me, how I use color and the palette I use.
When I use the three color palette I use, especially painting landscapes, I see almost everything as innominate color. They are all mixtures of the three "leaning" toward red, or green or whatever. I don't even see it as a color. I see it as an innominate mix and I compare it to what I see and ask, " is it cooler or warmer or darker or lighter?" then tweak my puddle in that direction. I compare it to tuning a guitar string. You turn it up and down and listen to it until you hit the note then stop. Then do the next one in relation to that one. And then the next one and then the next one, etc..
And I got a new camera from Santa Clause and the images seem to be a bit green/blue. I need a camera that shoots innominate color with a "cooler/warmer, lighter/darker" button.

Saturday, December 18, 2010


We had a little snow at the first of the week and it gave me a chance to do a little inclement weather painting. Got two snow paintings in and the icy grey painting above. Sleeting sideways on that one. Brrr. The reason you don't see the other snow painting is the fact it didn't do what I had try to make it do. I was trying to paint looking into the sun on a sunny clear day and there was this wonderful glare on the snow and when I set up on it I wasn't quite sure if I could pull it off and the little doubt in the back of my head soon became a hard cold fact. I couldn't figure out what I needed to do to get that eye squinting glare. I tried darkening values around it, changing temperatures, blurring edges, etc., etc. Pulled out all the tricks. To no avail. Got it home and tried some more. I think I have mentioned before that if I try to fix them at home I wreck 'em. This is the one thing that I am artistically very consistent at.

Saturday, December 11, 2010


Not much to say on this one, just wanted to get one in before I go to bed.
These are more 6x9's and the one with the barn and flag is a 9x12 I did back during my workshop as a demo, on Veteran's Day actually.
I'm sitting here right now getting a little excited over the fact we have snow in the forecast. The forecast has a pretty stiff wind predicted though and that can really make painting tough. Hopefully I'll be able to get at least one good snow day.

Monday, December 6, 2010


Heeyy, it's me. I'm alive. For anybody who keeps up with my blog I have had a bit of a motivation issue. Been lettin' it slide a bit.
But I'm back.
These are a few 6x9 paintings I am putting together for Leiper's Creek for the Christmas buying crowd. They're small and inexpensive and we have already sold a few. Hope to have the last two dry and in the gallery by midweek for a total of 8. If they sell well we may be on to something. I have noticed in this industry though as soon as you think you're on to something it changes to something else. Like trying to kill a rattlesnake with a sewing needle.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Everybody's a Critic...

...which in the case of the painting above is a good thing.
The Cumberland Society of Painters had a meeting Thursday night and agreed to have a "critique" after. We all brought paintings for the exercise and I had just finished the painting above that morning. During the critique of the painting there were a few compositional issues brought up so I took the painting home and followed the advice and "voila", a better painting! I think it actually helped the feel and design of the painting.
This was one of the first group critiques I had been a part of so I have to say I was a bit apprehensive trying to tell people who are much more experienced than myself how I think it ought to be. But after watching them I noticed it can be very constructive and I think we all have the same problem of being our own worst critic. I can stare at one of my paintings for only so long before it starts looking like a Jackson Pollock and it's nice to get fresh minds and eyes to see things you just can't pick up on.
Anyway, I may try this piece larger because I do like the feel of it and hopefully I can translate some of the qualities of it as I enlarge it.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Chestnut Group Radnor Show

The Chestnut Group is having their Radnor Lake Show this weekend. The Patrons party is Thursday night and the show begins in earnest on Friday morning at the Nature center there at Radnor. As we were setting up I saw some fantastic art and it looks like the Chestnut Group has taken it up a notch yet again.
I have posted my effort for the cause and hopefully we can raise a little money for the park. They still have quite a bit of damage from the May flood and every little bit will help.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

PAP-SE Weekend

Had a weekend of painting and socializing with some of the Plein Air Painters of the Southeast. It was a get together to meet the new artist's in the group which consists of me, Jim Richards and Lori Putnam. We were joined the first day for a paint out in Leiper's Fork by Anne Blair Brown, Diane and Frank May, Brett Weaver and Roger Brown and Beverly Evans. After a full day of painting we spent the evening in Nashville at the Frist Center for the Visual Arts. They have a show there now called "The Birth of Impressionism" and it's on loan from the Musee d'Orsay. If you have not been, go. It's wonderful. There is a painting there by Jules Bastien LePage titled "The Haymakers" that did it for me. It is a huge painting and the greens in it are phenomenal. I mix greens. I mix greens all the time. I mix greens for a living and I have never seen a green like this. It's grey and cool and deep and rich. And it's juxtaposed against other colors that make it this vibrant green yet when you look at it closer it's almost grey or blue or something else I can't get my head around. The effect of it was gorgeous. Speaking of greens, the next day we painted at a farm in Fernvale, had a catered lunch, and then dinner at one of the artist's home. In that home happened to be two Clyde Aspevig paintings. These were two of the most fabulous paintings I have stood in front of and in one of these paintings was a green. A perfect green. There is not a word between "aardvark" and "zymurgy" that describes this green so I won't try to with my limited linguistic talents but these are the times when you realize what is meant by "genius" in reference to great landscape painters. My rods and cones feel like they are cooling down after an Ironman triathlon.
We painted as a group one more time on Saturday morning and then all left until next spring when we plan on having the entire group together again right outside Charleston. I am looking forward to meeting the other artists and being part of the group.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A Busy October...As Always

I am officially back to blogging after a bit of a break. I have had quite a bit of illustration work to get out and still try and paint. It makes for chaos.
I painted this morning with Anne Blair Brown and Diane May in preparation for a Plein Air Painters of the Southeast paint out/get together scheduled in one week. We were scouting out places to paint and socialize as a group and have a few places worked out for both. It will be a lot of fun meeting the group. Hopefully the hazing will be kept to a minimum.
I am also painting at Radnor Lake in preparation for the show the Chestnuts are having there and will post those when I can get photos.
If you are big into painting the autumn colors you better get after it soon. They are peaking and won't be here long. Now's the time.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


Wanted to get in a quick plug for a workshop I will be having at Leiper's Creek Gallery November 10, 11, 12 and 13. That Wednesday night will be 3 hrs of information and a quick demo and the next three days are full days of a demo in the morning and then students painting in the afternoons. I haven't had one this late in the year before but that time of the year the landscape around here is beautiful. Should be fun. And if it gets cold the gallery has a coffee maker and a fire place. For details e-mail Kay Farrar at
By the way, I just got in last night from Wilmington, NC where I got to spend some time with the owners of Walls Gallery in Wilmington. The owners, David Leadman and Nancy Marshall, are very experienced and knowledgable when it comes to this fickle industry we call fine art. They are now in the process of preparing for the Oil Painters of America Eastern Regional Finals that they are hosting there in Wilmington. They actually have acquired a space in the Mayfaire center that is perfect for what they are doing. Plenty of room and it is located in a shopping area with restaurants and retail. I do believe with what little I got to see, the OPA show is going to be a top notch show. They picked a great gallery to have it with.
Oh, and tomorrow we will be setting up for the Chestnut Group's Land Trust Show at the Glen Leven mansion that is to be held Saturday night in the mansion. For anybody who is attending the fundraiser, make sure you swing through the mansion and check out the show. I think most of you know as well as we do, it's a great cause.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Plein Air Painters of the Southeast

I was just asked, and have accepted, membership in The Plein Air Painters of the Southeast.
Flattered is an understatement.
I remember when I started this, these were some of the people I would study and watch and try to emulate. Everything from their artistic abilities to the way they ran their businesses. It is a group of painters I had always had a deep admiration for and to have them deem me worthy of membership is truly an honor. Since I have been doing this, out of all the accolades I have received, it's when a group of artists who you admire and respect accepts you as one of their equals that is just the best.
Thanks to everyone in PAP-SE. I am looking forward to being part of the group.

Monday, September 27, 2010


As I write this I am sitting in the city of Charleston, SC. Last week a friend of mine who loves a road trip as much as I do, called me Wednesday and said "I'm going to Charleston, you in?" Hell yeah I'm in.
The first day was spent with friends of my traveling compadre where we were able to acquire a 19ft center console sea going boat with a 115 outboard. It was nice. We put in on the Bohicket river and ran down stream to the Atlantic Ocean where after pulling out into the ocean decided it might be a little rough for comfort so we stayed in the wetlands and river channel.
The most amazing thing about the area was the wildlife. Bald Eagles, Osprey's, ducks and migratory birds of every kind. But what astonished me the most was the number of dolphins that were in these brackish water areas. They were everywhere. The whole time. And they would get soooo close to the boat it felt like you could just reach out and touch them. I tried to photograph them but you never know where they will surface so by the time you get the camera pointed in the right direction and the trigger pulled they would be gone. The one's I have here are lucky shots out of about 10,000 attempts. Two of them started playing in front of the boat and would leap out of the water 4-5 feet. Incredible creatures.
Today was spent gallery hopping due the day long rain they had here. I saw 10-11 galleries and enjoyed my time at the Sylvan Gallery talking to Joe Sylvan and then at the M Gallery, probably my favorite of the bunch, talking it up with Maggie Kruger. Had a great time picking her brain and before it was all said and done she has asked me to send her a few paintings when I get back. Sweet! It always feels good to be associated with someone like Maggie who gets it and knows quality art and has and runs a high caliber gallery. I am looking forward to doing business with her.
Hopefully tomorrow it will quit raining long enough to paint a little. Either way, this town has enough to keep me busy.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Tennessee Dinosaurs

I went to Radnor Lake last week with Anne Blair Brown to start painting for the Chestnut Group Radnor Lake exhibit in November and as we were looking for a spot we came across this "dinosaur" you see in the photo above. It was one of the largest Snapping turtles I have seen. It was huge.
The Chelyda Serpentina, or Snapping Turtle is one of those creatures that evolution got to a certain point and then just blew right by. These are the closest thing we have to dinosaurs. They got to a point millions of years ago and haven't changed much. Haven't had to. They are like the shark and alligator, perfect at what they do. Eat, breed, repeat. Sounds like a pretty good routine.
When I was a kid my brother had a Boa Constrictor and used to win the pet show at Central Elementary grade school every year. He had one more year to win on the challenge trophy to get to take it home. About a week before the big show I caught a snapping turtle out of the creek about 100 yards from the school and entered him in the pet show. Guess who didn't get to take the challenge trophy home? That's right. I beat him with a creek turtle I caught the week before. When he would pull that snake out of the cage the crowd would oooh and aahhh. When I pulled the turtle out I got nothing.........except a big fat blue ribbon and my name on the challenge trophy. Caused a bit of a "stir" in the family. And this story gets more surreal by telling you that the judge that year was Huell Howser. He was a weatherman in Nashville at that time and was the closest thing to a celebrity we knew. He went on to do a show I see from time to time called California Gold. Google him.
I guess snapping turtles can do three things. Eat, breed, and kick your little brother's ass in a pet show.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Hazards of Cityscapes

I painted in Germantown with Anne Blair Brown again this morning and as we painted a gentleman walked up and asked,"Can I take your picture?"
"Sure" we replied and off he ran only to return with this professional grade camera over his shoulder and one of the Channel 4 weathermen in tow."Can we shoot you for the weather segment for tonight?" Dang. Kinda' wish I would have spent a little more time on my "look" this morning. I have to say though, I am usually dressed and prepared for a day in the woods and fields, as I was today, and I have not yet had anyone run up to me in those woods and fields and ask, "can I take your picture?"
Just one more hazard of painting cityscapes.
We also painted this afternoon with Bitsy King and Diane May at the Farmer's Market and if you have never painted there it is a plethora of color and pieces and parts and values and movement. It's overwhelming for someone like me. As most of you know, I will chase a detail like a dog chases squirrels and the Farmers Market is all details. I squinted and squinted and squinted and still got pieces. Baskets of fruit and vegetables and pumpkins and people, flowers and awnings, etc.. And it was all in shade. As easy as pulling your own Wisdom teeth.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Close to Home

I got this painted in a slow on and off drizzle yesterday. It's one of those places that I pass constantly on my way to other places to paint and it's within 10 minutes of my house. Sometimes I think I need to slow down and look a little harder around my area. I believe I could find a ton of things to paint without the gas investment.
By the way, I am not sure what happened to the copy on the post below. I re-posted some of the images and my type must have been erased so make up your own captions.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Hey, Hey, Hey... OPA!

This piece was juried in to the Oil Painters of America Eastern Regional Show at Walls Gallery in Wilmington, NC. Typically I mail these to the galleries for the shows but I think I may drive this one out there. Greeeaaat excuse for a road trip. The fact I love the country between here and there doesn't hurt either, especially the western side of NC.
I also noticed a couple of other Tennessee artists got in. Jeff Jamison and Tarron Parsons, both personal friends and fabulous artists. Congratulations guys.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010


Went downtown with Anne Blair Brown this morning to paint industrial/cityscapes. It is out of my comfort zone again but I think she and I have a plan to do this at least once a week. It would be good for me because for me it is a compositional challenge due to the fact there is just sooo much stuff and I need to filter a bit better. I tend to want to paint it all because it all looks like so much fun to paint. Little signs, telephone poles, fences, cars and trucks, architecture, etc.. I also kinda' let Anne feel out the spot because I was dying to try and just jump out and make some sort of composition with whatever I had to work with. It's tough. I always have a great deal of admiration for the guys and gals who can step up to something that you can't see anyway a painting will come out of it and they knock off a masterpiece.
Before we did this, Anne e-mailed me a couple of links to William Wray's and Randell Sexton's websites to get a feel for some urban work and if you haven't seen their stuff you need to take a look.
Next time I do this though I am going to try and ad the cars and maybe a person or two so it doesn't look like the day after some biological holocaust.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Finally, A Break In The Weather!

We finally had a break in the month long heat wave. I think we had near to over 100 degrees for over a month and last week we finally got a cold front that lowered the temps to the low 90's to upper 80's. Compared to what we have had I almost had to put on a fleece jacket and ear muffs. We gathered up a group that consisted of Roger Brown, Beverly Evans, Jason Saunders, Anne Blair Brown and myself and rode the backroads in Maury county and painted for two days and that was the first outdoor painting I think any of us had tried in awhile due to the weather. We had a small map that Jason had from his gig as a Bethel volunteer fireman and he navigated with "left here, right here, OK left here." We saw some unbelievably beautiful painting country in the area between Columbia and Mount Pleasant and need to get back ASAP.
When I paint with other very capable artists and see how they do what they do I always come away questioning my techniques and methods. I have found that every artist I know seems to have a different way of getting from point A to point B and after watching them I am tempted to try some of it. Use a different panel, different brushes, different palette, different method, but I have gone through all of that and it brought me here, where I am right now. Eventually I know it will change again because as an artist that constant search for more knowledge and skill will have an impact and pique my curiosity to the point I will change, bend and flex as I acquire my new skills and knowledge. That's what keeps this journey sooo exciting. What in the world will I be doing a year from now?